Week 33: Solidarity with nature

IMG_1082Oh Genesee, how I love thee. Genesee, CO is one of the many treasures along Colorado’s I-70 corridor. A simple turn off the highway and there you are surrounded by the wondrous Genesee Park. The easy access that we had to the park left us with some excess energy …energy that is typically used arguing over directions! What would we do with this unexpected surplus? We used it to delve into a deep discussion about the political climate in the US.

During the week of July 4th, we saw two unarmed black men killed by the police, followed by the killing of 5 officers in TX. My conversation with Joe didn’t lead us to any conclusions, instead it lead to more questions about the issues. Our kids intermittently helped us refocus our energy on them. Actually, it was during this hike that I realized that my efforts are better spent imparting kindness into the hearts of my children rather than trying to educate others on my heart. For the record, I am a believer in institutionalized racism, and think that it is important to recognize the pain caused by the historical and continued mistreatment of the black community. Racism imposes upon others unfair treatment that is rooted in fear and hatred and it really has no place on God’s earth.

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As our hike dipped further away from the sounds of I-70, and into the sounds one might hear in the rainforest, I let myself drift into a place of peace and solidarity with nature. While this felt good, I couldn’t help but feel an array of emotions about my ability to escape. I felt both lucky and ashamed. Is this white privilege, I wondered. It was a paradox and I was caught between two sides of myself that both needed to be expressed. I did this all while parenting, and putting one foot in front of the other.

The kids were in good spirits because the trail was mostly shady, and there was a railing that AJ took a liking to. I carried MJ on my back in a carrier that I plan to write a review about (why is it so hard for petite people to find a good carrier, ugh!). MJ likes to remind you that he there by patting your head, ears, playing with your hair. It is so fun to discover this little guy’s personality!

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Along the trail we saw squirrels, a woodpecker and made friends with the bees. We crossed a sweet little stream, and stopped for pictures. It was a happy time, but a hard time. Joe and I both couldn’t shake the sadness we felt about the events of the past few days. We couldn’t fake our way out of this one. Sometime, I learned, it’s okay to hike and still be sad.

RIP to the 7 lives lost through senseless acts of violence.

Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa.

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